Nothing is more likely to change a person’s future for the better than higher education. David Davin, executive director of institutional advancement and the Elgin Community College Foundation, remembers when he learned this lesson.
“I was sitting in an introductory sociology class—frankly, not paying much attention. When I heard about the socioeconomic impact of education, it caught my attention.”
From then on, Davin was hooked.
“It’s true that almost everything that ails us as a society can be solved by education—either by higher quality or better access to it.” So when it came time to get serious about a career, Davin chose to focus on higher education fundraising and advancement. “I couldn’t think of any other career that offered as much challenge or as much potential to make a positive impact.”
Davin started his career working for his alma mater, the University of Southern California (USC). “I was part of a big machine there, with over 400 advancement professionals. I saw first-hand what that kind of commitment to fundraising could achieve.”
As community colleges seeped into the national conversation, Davin found himself realizing that they were even more effective at changing individuals’ socioeconomic outlook than four-year institutions.
“Community colleges are on the cutting edge of higher education,” said Davin. “And yet, community college funding doesn’t reflect the collective impact of institutions like ECC.”
“For every dollar a community college gets, its peers in the four-year arena get four. I want to change that.”
After USC, Davin led the Wenatchee Valley College Foundation, located in Wenatchee, Washington. Immediately, he found success. “We changed the culture almost overnight to a fundraising-centric organization. In my first year, the foundation had its best year of fundraising in its 40-plus year history.”
What brought him to ECC? “This is a special college. It’s nationally known, and the leadership—from Dr. Sam on down—is committed to moving the needle on quality education.”
Davin sees exciting things happening at ECC—including the expansion of dual credit, rising completion rates, lowering student debt, and access to all in the community—and he plans to secure private and public funding to open ECC’s doors to more students than ever before.
It’s not all work for Davin though. To unwind after a busy day, Davin savors a home-cooked meal by his husband, Douglas, a chef, who has now moved across country two times with him. “He’s just as committed to education as I am,” explained Davin.
Davin is grateful to have a job that is challenging, rewarding, and ultimately transformational. “I always try to keep in front of me that the work we do helps people change their lives,” he said.